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Meridian Health Services Staff Respond to School Shooting Incident in Richmond, IN

Dec 13

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Thursday, December 13, 2018  RssIcon

Immediately after hearing of the school shooting incident at Dennis Intermediate School, Meridian Health Services staff were dispatched to the school to respond to the needs of students and staff. Therapists, Behavior Clinicians and Clinical Supervisors from Meridian’s child, foster care and adult services spent time meeting with distraught students, reassuring safety, and assisting them to debrief what they saw and heard. Meridian staff remained at the school until the last of the students were sent home with their parents. The Assistant Superintendent of Dennis Intermediate School was informed that Meridian will be available for whatever needs they may have. While Meridian’s staff provides services to students in the school, no Meridian staff were present during the time of the incident.

Richmond, Indiana, shooting: What we know about what happened at the school

from the IndyStar

On Thursday morning, an active shooter incident placed an Indiana middle school on lockdown, and ended with the 14-year-old suspect taking his own life.

Here’s what we know about the investigation in Richmond, Indiana. You can read full details of the incident here.

It happened at Dennis Intermediate School

According to the Indiana State Police, the first 911 call to the school at 222 NW 7th St. in Richmond came in around shortly after 8 a.m. Police were warned of a "potential violent act" targeting the school, and the facility was placed on lockdown.

Capt. Dave Bursten of the Indiana State Police said officers from the Richmond Police Department, the Wayne County Sheriff's Office and the Indiana State Police all responded.

Dennis Intermediate School is about 70 miles east of Indianapolis.

What happened

Bursten said police from multiple agencies were on the scene when the suspect, a 14-year-old boy who lived in the Richmond area, arrived armed.

Police said the boy, who was not a student at Dennis, was carrying a pistol and rifle as he entered the locked-down school.

Officers confronted the suspect at the north door, but the teen shot out the glass of one of the school's locked doors to get inside the building. He then passed by classrooms full of students behind locked doors on his way to the south staircase.

Police pursued the suspect and there was another exchange of gunfire, officials said. It ended in the south stairwell on the second floor where the teen died from "an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound." No officers were injured and it has not been determined if the suspect was wounded by police.

Officials said that the school's lockdown likely saved lives, since the suspect could not enter classrooms.

Who was the shooter?

Wayne County Coroner Ron Stevens identified the shooter Friday, but the Palladium-Item and IndyStar are not reporting the name because of his age.

Stevens also said he transported the 14-year-old suspect's body early Friday to the Montgomery County Coroner's Office in Dayton, Ohio, where an autopsy was completed Friday afternoon.

An Indiana State Police news release said the shooter died from a single, self-inflicted gunshot wound, but the coroner has not authorized the State Police to say where the wound occurred. There were no other gunshot wounds or trauma to the body of the shooter, the release said.

Who warned about the threat?

The mother of the 14-year-old who carried a pistol and rifle into Dennis Intermediate School Thursday morning called 911 to alert officials to the imminent danger at the school. That call is being credited with saving lives Thursday.

State Police confirmed Friday in their news release that the mother placed the call that enabled the school to implement its lockdown procedures and law enforcement to begin responding to the school.

The Richmond school district's safety plan gives teachers the authority to decide whether to put a building on lockdown, which is what happened Thursday.

"A teacher made a call, determined that that's what the best plan of action was and we went forward with that," Richmond Community Schools Superintendent Todd Terrill said Friday afternoon during a news conference at the district's administration building.

Officials respond

As police and community leaders discussed the shooting Thursday afternoon, they praised the action taken by those inside the school, but expressed disappointment that such preparations even have to be made.

Terrill, the superintendent, said all teachers, students and staff responded appropriately when the shooting began.

"And that's not by chance," he said. "They have taken these drills seriously."

Richmond Mayor Dave Snow explained that city police were supposed to head out into the community later in the day to give away toys to children. Instead, they are dealing with the fallout of an incident that ended with the death of a young person.

"This is tragic on so many levels ... to the students, parents and middle school staff, I say to you I am so sorry," he said, calling the incident "yet another example of gun irresponsibility."

"This is only going to continue until concrete action is taken so that guns will not fall into the hands of kids," he said. "Change must come. Until then, I call upon you to stay vigilant, stay aware and take all threats seriously."

School to remain closed for 2 days

Dennis Intermediate School, where the shooting occurred, will be closed on Friday and Monday, the school district said. However, all other Richmond public schools will be open Friday.

The school district also released a statement on Twitter, saying that the shooting at Dennis was "an isolated incident."

"We will have extra law enforcement presence at all schools," the district said. "If you plan to keep your children home tomorrow, we understand."

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